A Place for Us by Anthony Laura; Chain Theatre Winter One Act Festival
Review by Domenick Danza
A Place for Us, written and directed by Anthony M. Laura, is part of Chain Theatre’s Winter One Act Festival. The festival consists of nine different programs, including comedies, dramas, and musicals. Each program is given four performance dates and one live stream date. In A Place for Us, playwright Anthony M. Laura explores alternate realities. His writing shows a strong control of these varied levels, keeping the audience focused on the actions of the characters, while continually questioning the truths of the situation. He effectively directs a skilled cast, who create realistic relationships in the face of unexpected twists and turns.
When Judith (played by Donna L. White) finds a bloody towel in her laundry basket, she questions her daughter, Hannah (played by Madison Murrah). This adds to the already elevated level of stress between them, due to Judith’s infidelities. Natalie, an unexpected visitor (played by Raina Silver) arrives, claiming she lives in their house. Hannah befriends Natalie, against the strong warnings of her father, Vincent (played by Emerson A. Buchholz). Natalie refuses to leave, and offers little detail to her life and history. Even though her true identity remains a mystery, the family begins to resolve their deep rooted differences.
Playwright Anthony M. Laura structured his play in short scenes. This heightens the tension and mystery throughout the piece. Each scene suspends the reality further, while grounding the characters in realistic actions. It is the careful balance of this dichotomy that keeps the audience engaged, while continually questioning the levels of truth. The final scene delivers a solid answer to Judith’s discovery of the bloody towel in the opening scene, yet opens the door to possibilities for Hannah’s continued journey.
The cast fully commits to the realistic traits of their characters. Their objectives are strong and clear, building genuine conflict. This gives the audience a compelling story to follow, while the alternate realities unfold. Madison Murrah effectively portrays Hannah as a confused and conflicted teenager. Donna L. White builds an authentic mother relationship with her that is riddled with conflict. Emerson A. Buchholz plays the father with humor and wisdom. Raina Silver is enigmatic as the unexpected visitor.
A Place for Us has one more showing on February 18 at 8:00 PM. Go to the Chain Theatre website (www.chaintheatre.org) to get tickets for this final performance. While there, check out the other one-act programs. The festival runs through February 25 at 312 West 36 St. (4th floor). Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. The Winter One Act Festival continues to build Chain Theatre’s reputation for presenting quality theatre. Don’t miss out. Get a ticket today!
Chain Theatre: https://www.chaintheatre.org/